Monday, March 4, 2024
23.6 C

Walk with one shoe – 3

Its dark, the roads wet, glistening a misty rain lightly coats my face as i walk the city streets. Nomads, hoods drawn wrestle with shadows known only to themselves argue with the unseen as they scurry by. Makeshift beds litter the shopfront doorways all the marks have gone. Cabs collect the suits shimmering in the headlights. I make my way home, catching sight only for a moment my reflection, eyes old. My lungs ache from too many casual life stories, it never amazes me how, given the chance a complete stranger will disperse all kinds of secret files on their mischievous relationships, I suppose I’ll never see them again anyway, well nearly all of them.

Early morning sitting by the garage door, light streams through the leaves of the old elm tree all majestic it towers over the house, the leaves lush and plentiful, children with their mothers walk past up the hill to the local school. The Indian sits in the doorway of the garage half hanging out, two years in the making it is nearly finished. I remember when i was young I would see those old movies of the 40’s and 50’s where the main guy would ride around on these big old bikes changing gears on the tank all leathered up riding down the highway. Motorcycles truly a tool for the soul, a mass of early morning coffees, long drives, secondhand parts and the amount of patience that would test any saint has finally seen the end of a vision. I sit back bellows of smoke leave my mouth like a steam train early morn, Bloomfield echoing out from the back of the garage. Grazed hands cradle a coffee, as the smell of the new day permeates air.

My phone rings, “hello”, “hey can you do a show tonight?” “sure” I say “where abouts?” “down the coast, I’ll come and pick you up about 6”, we discuss the details laughing about the slave labour pay, working musicians the most under paid professionals, I was making the same pay twenty years ago putting up with the same bullshit just from different publicans, gees if I was working in a sweat shop for the pay I get at least there would be no real overheads, punters come up and suggest how better you can perform, tell you what songs would be better the swan off to their little group all proud of themselves while we, the musicians try and be polite “Yes maybe we should try that song, (now go fuck yourself you piece of shit)”. Publicans are the same, expect a capacity crowd without advertising playing some god awful music prior to the band starting then complaining that we didn’t attract enough of a crowd while paying us fifty dollars a piece for our time getting there at 7 and finishing at 1 in the morning, that’s six hours plus travelling time for fifty dollars roll on the good times, does anybody care? no of course not the general public who go out wouldn’t have a clue but we keep on playing anyway why?, well that’s the 9 dollar an hour question.

Back home its early morning the house creeks in the silence. Its a great time of the day, I’ve always liked the crispness of the air and the quiet time where you can just sit and reflect on the previous days ups and downs, the show went well, the crowd weren’t too bad considering and my gear didn’t break down so all’s well in the land of milk and honey. The t.v evangelist, all love thy neighbour fleeces their flock of riches, their Cheshire smiles evil prey on the weak just a small donation is all we need they say while Facebook retaliations of eastern faiths declare war on the infidels. Fear mongering on both sides, doomsday prepares itself for another time in history. I drift off to a land where there are no boundaries, where no-one is persecuted because of the colour of their skin or their beliefs in what comes there after.

My neck aches as I awake another night dissolved on the couch, I’ve got to stop falling asleep in front of the TV even though it’s a futile thought. “Fall asleep on the couch again did we?” she says filling the kettle “do you want a coffee?”, her voice drifting from the kitchen, the dog looks up weary in anticipation then falls back in comfort. “How did you go last night?” “not bad” I say my throat grinding, my eyes blurry. Outside rain hard pelts the earth, the skies vengeance cleans the nights events from the holy roads. The night draws curtains on the sun as I head out, guitar slung over my shoulder back to the bar where time stands still, where the regular crew struggles to maintain perspective on the outside world. Third level safe house emits laughter as I climb the stairs, there’s a spider on the wall, the moon shining, making the tea while Frank sifts through a pile of verses. There’s a dancer all legs and smiles a parading banshee, she floats bleeding lines of adventures to no one in particular, party turns up “hey whats going on?” the banshee screams the walls rattle and bleed. The rest of the motley crew arrive we nestle around the table another family meeting entails, people come and go the phone rings Frank grumbles and heads downstairs for another foley of difficult opinions the banshee cartwheeling around the room stumbles careering into one of the chairs we all laugh uncontrollably just another night. It’s quiet on the streets in the city tonight even the street urchins have fled the scene. There’s a few buskers on the corner, bucket and pan rhythms echoing down Chinatown, me and Party share observations, drink coffee and generally just take in the nights progression the billboard across the street displays the latest designer street wear spewing on the sidewalk as the romeos hold back their hair hoping for early morning penetrations.

Dean James

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